Having a family vacation at the Smoky Mountains is a great way to get your family connected to nature. This is why the Great Smoky Mountain happens to be one of the most beautiful and suitable family vacation spots. The Smoky Mountains and nearby towns get more than 15 million visitors a year, the majority of which are families who are eager to explore the wonders of this great mountain range, have some family time in nature, and see what the towns have to offer. They get to participate in outdoor activities and camp in nature or go back to the nearest towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to grab supplies or explore the entertainment options. Needless to say, a vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains will prove to be a wonderful and memorable vacation with your kids.
But if you are wondering what activities, in particular, are family-friendly and can keep your hyperactive kids engaged in the Smokies, here is a list. It includes:
1. Explore the visitor centers
The Smokies aren’t just mountains and trees. It has four visitor centers, the most popular of which is Sugarlands. These visitor centers are a great way to learn more about the Smokies, pick up some souvenirs, and enjoy the exhibits.
You can visit the Sugarland Visitor Center if you are staying in the Smoky Mountains cabins near Gatlinburg, as it is located nearby the Gatlinburg entrance of the national part. It is best to visit these visitor centers at the beginning of your trip to acquire information about the hike trails, maps, directions, and anything else you may need.
The Sugarlands center is popular among families because it includes several nature and animal exhibits, a movie about the part, a gift shop where you can look for souvenirs, and a bookshop. It is also located near an easy and fun hiking trail, perfect for families with little kids.
2. Visit the kid-friendly hiking trails
The best way to introduce nature to children and make them appreciate its raw beauty is to take them hiking on a family-friendly hiking trail. It will help them connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Some kid-friendly hiking trails include Cataract Falls, Laurel Falls Trail, and Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail.
3. Enjoy the TopJump Trampoline and Extreme Arena
If you would describe your kids as hyperactive, then the best activity you can partake in with your family includes visiting the TopJump Trampoline and Extreme Arena in Pigeon Forge. It is a trampoline park with various adventure courses for kids of all ages. It has basketball, dodgeball, and even a virtual reality arena that kids can enjoy. But the highlight of this park is the Fire and Ice ninja course, where kids have to navigate through rungs, ramps, steps, and beams to reach the endpoint.
4. Enjoy the adrenaline pump at the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
It would be a waste of your trip if you visited the Smokies and didn’t enjoy the mountain coaster. So if you and your family are an adrenaline junky, then we best suggest that you must visit this ride through the wood as it barrels down the mountain and gives you the thrill of your life. But don’t be afraid, as the coaster won’t be out of your control. You can control your speed on the coaster with the help of a handle and adjust the ride to a speed that both you and your kids can enjoy.
5. Explore the theme park of Anakeesta
Anakeesta is a Cherokee Indian word that means high ground, and this theme park offers you an outdoor mountain experience while maintaining the heritage and natural beauty of the place. Here, you can enjoy the mountain coaster, zip line ride, gem mining, tree houses, treetop skywalk, and much more. If we do say so, visiting Anakeesta park would be the best family activity you can partake which we ensure everyone would enjoy. You can also explore the garden and different trails and shop for souvenirs. At the end of the day, you can enjoy dinner at the full-service grill and restaurants, while the adults can enjoy the bar.
6. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Ripley’s Aquarium is one of the top-rated aquariums in America as it features more than 10,000 sea creatures belonging to 350 diverse species. It also includes several kid-friendly attractions where the children can have a hands-on marine life experience and learn more about them through educational programs. So if you’re curious about seeing eels, sharks, or even penguins, Ripley’s Aquarium is the place to go. Here, you can pet a penguin or feed the sea turtles. Apart from that, you can also enjoy different dive shows where divers interact with different marine life in their tanks. If you visit the aquarium on Labor Day or Memorial Day, you can also enjoy the mermaid show. Don’t forget to visit Ripley’s Shark Lagoon, where you get to sail on a boat with a glass bottom as it allows you to watch the fascinating ocean predators swim below. Hence, it is a suitable activity for kids and adults alike.
7. Ice skate at Ober Gatlinburg
If you are more fond of physical activities than shows, then we recommend visiting the ice skating rink at Ober Gatlinburg. It is a large rink that is perfect for both experienced and beginner skaters. It has a handrail surrounding the perimeter, which allows all the novices and children to keep their balance while skating.
So visit the skating rink with your family and hit the ice with rental skates. It is the perfect summer activity that allows you to cool off and enjoy the day with your family.
The Great Smoky Mountains is a memorable place to visit with your family and allows everyone to take a break from the busy bustle of urban life and appreciate nature. The mountains and woods offer a great outdoor experience where you can hike different trails, visit waterfalls, mountain peaks, or camp. Then go back to town to enjoy different family-friendly activities that everyone can partake in. At the end of the day, adults can have time to visit restaurants or bars to have the full Smoky Mountains experience.